BCTF surveys show teachers and parents are worried about safety, support mask use

THE B.C. Teachers’ Federation recently completed a comprehensive random sample survey of teachers as well as a separate public opinion survey on the issues of health and safety in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and the findings reveal that teachers are worried about inadequate safety in schools and overwhelmingly support a stronger mask mandate.

The research report, Keeping Safe Schools Open in a Pandemic: What BC teachers say we still need outlines all of the findings and includes some data from a recent public opinion survey as well.

“BC teachers have been calling on the government, health officials, and school districts to enhance health and safety measures in our schools for months,” said BCTF President Teri Mooring on Wednesday. “From inconsistent mask use and poor ventilation to an inability to maintain physical distance in our classrooms, people are incredibly frustrated with how inadequate COVID-19 prevention measures have been in our schools. Enhancements to the K–12 health and safety guidelines are long overdue and the BCTF will continue to push the government, districts, and health officials to do more to protect teachers, students, and the families we all go home to.”

The BCTF member survey found over half of teachers (57.8%) who are working in-person in BC schools still do not feel safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, an overwhelming 86.9% of teachers involved with in-person instruction agreed that teachers and other adults in their workplace should be required to wear a face mask, or face shield all or most of the time. Another overwhelming majority – 79.9% of teachers – agreed that students should also wear masks all or most of the time in school.

A public opinion survey commissioned by the BCTF also found the public agrees (83%) that teachers are experiencing more stress and health risks as well as and increased workload during COVID-19.

Respondents to the BCTF member survey reported:

* health and safety measures in schools are still inadequate.

* teachers’ workload is increasing, and teachers are burning out.

* teachers’ mental and physical health has worsened during the pandemic.

* teachers are concerned about COVID-19’s impact on students.

The full report is available online.